College Field Hockey
Rider University 1, Monmouth University 0
Rider wins fourth NEC Championship

LAWRENCEVILLE—Freshman Alicia Govannicci (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) scored on a rebound with 3:01 remaining in regulation to give the Rider University field hockey team a 1-0 win over Monmouth University Saturday afternoon in the Northeast Conference championship game.

Govannicci scored off a shot by junior Virginia Egusquiza (Getxo, Spain) for her seventh goal of the season.

“Virginia sent in a great shot and it hit the goalie’s pads,” Govannicci remembered.  “I just hit it in and it just rolled into the corner of the goal.  We knew that it was going to be a hard game, but we just stuck together and that is how we got through it.”

“I actually made a little adjustment during the timeout,” head coach Lori Hussong said.  “I moved Alicia back on to the pads and moved Meg (Pisani) to the outside because she was having a little problem moving today because of her hip injury.  It was key because Alicia got right onto the rebound and slammed it home for us.”

This is Rider’s fourth NEC championship having also won in 2000, 2002 and 2004.  The Broncs won the NEC regular season title for the second year in a row (and fifth time overall 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010), going 7-0 in conference play.

“In the final it is just anyone’s game,” said Hussong.  “It was a matter which team was going to come up with the will to get it done.”

“We wanted to just to win the championship,” Govannicci said about the goals for the year.  “That was our main goal and what we really wanted and to do our best and that is what we did.”

“It feels really good because this team has worked so hard this year,” said Hussong.  “Not that the other teams didn’t, but I just feel really good for the players.”

Junior goalie Rebecca Lotito (Oceanport/Shore Regional) recorded her seventh shutout of the season, making three saves.

Rider (16-3) out-shot Monmouth (15-5) 16-4 and the Broncs held a 15-5 penalty corner advantage.

The top seeded Broncs avenged a loss to Monmouth who upset Rider last season in the NEC semifinals 2-1 in overtime.

Rider improved to 9-0 on its new campus turf field.

Rider defeated the Hawks 3-0 earlier this season and Rider has won 19 of the 29 games (three ties) all-time against Monmouth.

The win was Rider's 13th in a row and the 150th in the career of head coach Lori Hussong.  The winning streak ties the Rider record set by the 2009 team that started 13-0 and ended the year 17-2.

Rider has won three one-goal games in a row and are now 3-3 this season in games decided by one goal.

Hussong has led Rider to the four-team NEC playoffs in each of her 11 seasons at Rider.

Egusquiza was named to the NEC All-Tournament team along with sophomore Marlaine Schneider (Feasterville, Pa./Neshaminy), senior Kristy Kelly (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) and senior Lindsay Rajeski (New Egypt).

Egusquiza, the back to back NEC Player of the Year, was named tournament MVP.

The Broncs will travel to the University at Albany on Tuesday to face the America East champions in an NCAA Play-In game at 1pm.

UA defeated the top seed University of New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime Saturday afternoon at UNH.

“I am really excited and we are the underdog,” Govannicci said.  “ I think that we can get the job done and do well.”

“Albany has a very good program," Hussong said about the game on Tuesday.  “It is going to be a dog fight.”

Rider and the Great Danes of Albany have split four meetings all-time with the Broncs winning the last meeting 4-1 on September 26, 2003 in Lawrenceville.

In that game, Maddy Boulden scored twice with sister Ashley Boulden providing two assists.

-RU-